45 whales die in India stranding

Indian fishermen try to drag a whale that washed ashore in Manapad in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district, around 600 km south of Bangalore. (AFP)
Indian fishermen try to drag a whale that washed ashore in Manapad in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin district, around 600 km south of Bangalore. (AFP)

Chennai - Forty five whales have died after stranding themselves on a southern Indian beach, a government official said on Tuesday, with local fishermen struggling to save others.

The pod of whales started beaching themselves on Monday afternoon along a 15km stretch of coast near Tiruchendur on India's southernmost tip.

"At least 45 short-nosed pilot whales beached were later confirmed dead on the coast of Tiruchendur," district collector M Ravikumar said, adding that the pod may have been hit by a passing ship.

About 50 whales altogether had become stranded, local forestry officer SA Raju said, while the Press Trust of India and other local media put the total number at more than 100.

"It's very strange and we are examining the whales. We found some of the whales are still alive and struggling for their lives," Raju said.

Raju added he and his team were seeking help from the district administration to try to rescue those still breathing.

Fishermen and others were attempting to push those whales back into the water along the coast, located some 700km from the city of Chennai, local media reported.

Fishermen raised the alarm after the whales, about 4.5m long, starting coming ashore.

"On Monday evening there were more than a dozen whales beached at many places on the shore," said S Thiraviyam, a resident of the town of Manapad.

The southern tip of India is close to major shipping trade routes.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
How has the delay in schools' opening impacted your life?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It's a disaster! We're struggling to manage work and kids at home
39% - 621 votes
It's a struggle, but we learnt lessons from last year's closures
20% - 314 votes
It's a relief, this second wave is bad and kids need to be at home
41% - 646 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.13
(-0.14)
ZAR/GBP
20.70
(-0.11)
ZAR/EUR
18.42
(-0.11)
ZAR/AUD
11.67
(-0.11)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.86)
Gold
1855.20
(+0.05)
Silver
25.47
(+0.10)
Platinum
1100.00
(+0.44)
Brent Crude
54.81
(-1.30)
Palladium
2352.23
(+0.52)
All Share
63987.92
(-0.29)
Top 40
58886.26
(-0.14)
Financial 15
11685.83
(-2.13)
Industrial 25
86576.24
(+1.21)
Resource 10
62699.98
(-1.34)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo